Wood Turtle Longevity
The longer we study Wood Turtles, the more we learn about how long they can live. It was not so long ago that the record for a wild
Wood Turtle was 33 years old. Before that, it was 28 years. The
turtles are not living any longer
these days, it's just that our studies
are lasting longer...
Thus far, the oldest known Wood Turtle is a captive specimen that lived 58 years.
Under ideal conditions in captivity, animals can be much less vulnerable because of the absence of most predators, parasites, and many diseases. In addition, specimens that are well cared for usually receive a well-balanced and nutricious diet.
Unfortunately, few captive Wood Turtles have had such conditions outside of professional facilities until recently...
Last updated: February 7th, 2010
The most recent evidence is that Wood Turtles can live at least 46 years in the wild.
Why do I say 'at least'? Simply because there are few long-term Wood Turtle studies. The only way to know how long a turtle has lived for certain is to mark a bunch of young turtles of known ages and then return decades later...a considerable investment of time.
Frequently, however, an adult Wood Turtle that is no longer growing will get marked. All you can say about the age of such a turtle is that it was 20+ years old when first captured. If you were fortunate enough to catch this same turtle again 30 years later, then the turtle is known to be at least 50 years old.